"Phonomicon ex Cultis is an aid for any, primarily fantasy, roleplaying game; a glorified random table of 100 gods and cults for your PCs or NPCs to follow."
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Religions in OD&D and AD&D 1st edition have been something I've specialized in since I was a kid. Clerics have always fascinated me and this is a solid way of coming up with some very fast and on the fly adversaries and allies for use with your old school game campaign.
An innovative and interesting take on creating new and quick religions on the fly for your NPC cults and enemy needs. A very well thought out solution to the old deer caught in the headlights problem of coming up with a cult or group during play with details right then & there.
The premise behind Phonomicon ex Cultis is simple. At its heart, it’s a table of 100 gods, goddesses and powers to provide a pan-system source of small religions as a springboard for use in your roleplaying game. The concept underpinning this was to take the most common phonemes (or word sounds) in the English language and use them as a basis for generating powers that NPCs worship. If words have power, then do sounds have power too? And if similar sounding words can be grouped by similar meaning, do they take on further strength?
Take AIN as an example – you’ll find it in slain, sprain, strain, pain… all words concerning damage and discomfort – and all of a sudden you have AIN, Patron Deity of Injuries. Perhaps the civilised folk known him as Bain, and appeal to him for a quick recovery from wounds; perhaps the barbaric humanoid tribes know him as Tarrainain, and revel in his name as they butcher villages in their path; further still, perhaps the snake-headed Inquisitors of Koth whisper their prayers to Ains’sain as they prepare the torture implements for the next victim.
The ideas for this system are well thought out, for a free system this one is a solid hit for a DM who needs or wants religions during play for adversaries, enemies, allies and more. I can see using this system for everything from a Call of Cthulhu style horror game to a D&D style adventure with a slant towards cults and deities. My advice here is to grab this resource yesterday and let fly with the dice to develop some nice setting backdrop details for your PC's.
With a bit of work about 90% of this material could be applied to your favorite old school science fantasy or post apocalyptic campaign with little to no issue at all. I love the way the system here can easily be mated into any old school system. With science fantasy planet religions,cults, and more this is nice tool to have. This is perfect for a generation ship full of mutants where cults have sprung up or the post apocalyptic wastes where religions have taken a weird turn. This system makes coming up with cults for the wastelands a snap.
All in all this is a great resource for an old school DM to add into his tool box. For adventure generation this is a solid resource for adding in enemies into the mix for both short and long range adventure NPC's. By allowing a random selection of the 100 deities, each with a sound associated with a name, portfolio of influence, types of worshipers, granted powers, symbols, descriptions the DM can pick and choose his favorites for certain regions or territories within a campaign. Duncan Young deserves a ton of credit for this pdf and its a really nice resource for the asking price. Once again my advice is to grab this one while you can and get cracking on creating your own take on that cult you've been wanting to send against your PC's in that up coming at adventure.Four out of five stars.
This product is easily applicable to any number of OSR or old school Dungeons & Dragons gaming systems. Phonomicon ex Cultis is dead simple to use the exacution is perfect for adding in colour & cults to your games.